The sensor's the thing

Post-IPO, ICx turns its focus on commercial marketplace
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Friday, February 1, 2008

ARLINGTON, Va.--Three months after raising $80 million through an initial public offering, ICx Technologies is ready to reach out to commercial-minded integrators, said chief executive Hans Kobler in a wide-ranging interview with Security Systems News. The company has already been beta testing a partner program with roughly a dozen VARs and integrators, focusing on perimeter solutions, and Kobler said sales coming through have been strong enough that in the first quarter ICx plans to expand the program to offer its full suite of products and offer the program to a wider array of companies.
For a company with a reputation for serving the government market, "I think the key message is that we have a huge opportunity for [integrators in the commercial market] to bring more advanced high-margin products to their existing base, allowing them to sell more and make their customers safer."
In this last comment, Kobler refers to what he believes distinguishes ICx: better sensors. "We generally started in the homeland security market," he said, "and they gave us, and continue to give us, a rather substantial amount of money to build better sensors because what is out there today doesn't give them enough of an answer to their problems."
And ICx has a broad definition of "sensor": everything from cameras with analytics to sniffer devices to high-precision radar. He refers to software that combines video and access control as a "simpler product," and touts "thermal cameras at a decent price" as part of a push into commercial perimeter surveillance.
Early wins have included the largest LNG facility in the United States, a number of dams, and "we work with some luxury home estates," Kobler said. Going forward, "the chemical plants will be a major push, as well as the high-end, high-value installations, where a bad attack would be costly, but so would a false alarm. If you empty Yankee Stadium once or twice, that would be very costly."
Investing in ICx has thus far been costly for its stockholders. After pricing its IPO at $16, the stock sits around $8.50 just three months later. "We are disappointed in our stock price," Kobler admitted, "but nothing has changed [since the IPO]. We are happy that we have the cash and liquidity to execute our strategy--some other people will have to explain [the stock price]. We're just focused on the business and building better sensors. The market will follow performance."